42 answers

I Don't Know What to Do.... - Lake Odessa,MI

Okay Moms, I want to know what you would do if you were in my shoes. I am in a sticky situation involving some extended family. How do I go about this to keep the kids' best interests at heart without hurting feelings.

Here's the deal. I am a SAHM of 2 kids and love it. I keep the children of my family and my husbands family on and off, but I am by no means a day care lady, nor do I aspire to be. But right now I am keeping 2 nephews everyday after school until 7:30pm. I love the kids, but there are some issues.

My husband's brother and his wife live just down the road from us and they have two sons who are 5 and 4. They both work full time and have high paying jobs. The sister in law actually has two jobs.

So basicly, these boys get up early and are dropped off at their preschool/daycare by their mother. There they are fed breakfast and the older boy is walked over to kindergarten and the younger stays for his preschool. They are picked up at 3pm by their Dad and he brings theme right to me and heads off to work. They are with me from then until their Mom comes back in the evening. Of course I have already fed them. So they go home, get their bath, watch a movie and go to bed. And on the days their Mom is home, she has a babysitter come to the house and she works at home on her second job.

Recently, the older boy has started having trouble in school and has been getting very violent with his mother. He has stopped caring about getting into trouble and has stopped caring about his school work. However, at my house he is as good as gold. I have no issues with him at all. I feel bad because both boys cry and throw fits every day when it is time for them to go home.

I am in a pickle because she has told me about the problems she is having and it is obvious to me why he is so upset. These people don't see it. But I am afraid if I tell her the truth she will get offended and mad. I don't want to harm our relationship because I see the important role I play with her boys. If she would just give up one of her jobs things would be so much better. They have plenty of money so there isn't a financial reason for her to work so much. The other issue is that this is putting tension on my marriage because my husband is NOT interested in raising his brother's kids. He feels the same way I do, but he doesn't want the extra kids here all the time. Our house is small and he works nights, so I get his point. But I feel obligated and I love the boys. I want what is best for them. Right now we are the only stability in their lives. But WHAT IS BEST is them being home with their own parents.


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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for such wonderful advice! This is truly a loving community. I have read several great ideas that I truly believe will help. This is obviously a situation that needs to be addressed. Now I feel I have some tools that will allow me to do this in the best way. Thank you again to all of you!

My sister in law has begun asking me about the boys' behavior and is hinting that she wants to talk about this. She has opened the door and so I guess it's my time to help her. My plan is to go to her house with a bottle of wine (both our husbands are working nights right now) and create a loving atmosphere where we can just visit about it. I believe she does want help with this so I am going to pray more about it and do my best. Thanks again. Many hugs to all of you.

More Answers


You are the lucky one!!!. You recognize that you are an important role model in these young boys lives. I can't imagine a greater position to be in than making a difference in someones life. The boys will always credit you for what you are doing. Besides, your children are benefiting from having the boys around. They are learning to share, their toys and your time,as well as other valuable lessons. The old saying give and you shall recieve will make a lot of sence in the coming months/years. I suggest that you and your husband keep doing what you're doing and the rewards will be great! As for the parents... it sounds like they are selfish people with a blurred value system. It won't be the last time their boys are victims of bad decisions made by their parents and they, unfortunately will grow up experiencing many mistakes and dissapointments. The consistancy that you bring to those boys is priceless! Aside from casually mentioning that the boys might be screaming for more attention from the parents the next time they bring up the incidents at school; I don't suggest that you get into any conversation about their lack of parenting. It won't end well and the last thing the boys need is for you to be removed from their lives. You sound like a wonderful, caring mother. Do what you do best and you will ALWAYS be happy! Tired at times, definately. But happy with yourself ALWAYS. Good luck!!!!!!!!!!

It sounds like the parents are selfish and don't

1 mom found this helpful

My sister had a problem like this with my brothers kids. She had them at least 4 days a week after school and then on the weekends all day. It was out of control! My sister has 3 kids of her own that she home schools. Her husband like to do family things on the weekend and it's nearly impossible when they had 2 extra kids for most of the day. They were honestly headed for a divorce over it. I finally called my brother and his girl friend and told them like it was. They needed to work out thier schedules so that my sister only had the kids 3 days a week and only every other weekend. The didn't realize that it was a problem. My sister never let them know she had any issues with it. She was always "oh, sure I'll keep them" I was shocked! So my question to you is are you letting them know that it's a problem? They probably don't even know that you're getting burned out. Comunication is the key! You need to tell them that having their boys every day is wearing on your marriage and family life. Tell them they need to only count on you 3 days a week starting in 2 weeks. That will give them time to make adjustments to their schedules. Don't most people have 2 days a week off? If they can't live on 2 incomes each working 5 days a week then they need to evaluate their spending. That's probably not something you need to say to them though. Lots of families live on one income and we all do what we have to do to get by, they will do the same with out taking advantage of you. You probably are the only stability for the boys but you can't parent their kids they have to. You can just do the best for them when you have them. You have to put your kids and husband first. Good luck and don't forget to communicate!

1 mom found this helpful

You are in a pickle:( If there is going to be any change in your situation I think the four parents need to sit down and discuss the problems, issues and solutions. I have seen career oriented woman do an excellent job of juggling children, job and still maintain a healthy marriage. Yet I have seen great struggles too. Life has struggles. It may be helpful to go into the situation with the attitude that everything is going to work out the best for the children. This is time where the slogan "ChildrenFirst" really fits. It is a very rewarding job to be a mother and that the pay is not in cash or monetary value but payment is a daily deposit into a successful adult later in life. If this family has an understanding of working hard for a successful job then relating it to building successful adults. The parents time spent with their children is far more impacting than just providing a place to sleep, eat and play. The natural relationship between parents and children are to teach them life lessons, to love them always and believe in them. I could go on with my philosophy but enough said. I will pray for you to have courage and wisdom.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you have gotten a lot of great advice. So first let me just say as a mom who works outside of the home, I can not imagine taking advantage of a a SAHM-so not all of us feel that way (though most of us feel judged). I respect your decision to stay home, I just wish others would respect mine to not. (J. not included, because she obviously does). You really just need to be honest with them both and your husband needs to be there too, the dinner idea is great make sure though it is someplace neutral so they do not feel attacked. It will be hard for them to make those adjustments at first but they can, and will find life eaiser once they do. I manage to juggle a full time career, motherhood to a growing pre-schooler, a marriage of 11 plus years, as well as volunteer several hours a month as a mentor to college women teaching them how to balance life. Maybe you could either check something out from your local library, or do a search on amazon for some books that might help her learn this juggle. However, I would agree that she may need to pick one career over the other.

1 mom found this helpful

You have to tell these parents the truth for the sake of your nephews! Honesty is always hard to hear; but in the end they should realize that you have the best interest of their children in mind. -At least someone does!
If you want a nonconfrontational way to handle this, my first step would be to sit down with your nephew and talk. Get him to open up and be honest about his feelings and his source of anger. Then, communicate these feelings to his parents, or help him to. Hearing their son's feelings should be a huge eye opener to them.
Being a SAHM you have your priorities right! Hopefully you can help another family who hasn't figured it out yet. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hello J.,

You do really have the boys' interests at heart, that is clear from your question. You are doing the boys a wonderful service, but as you say, the best thing is for them to be with their parents.

Normally I would not advise interfering with others' parenting decisions, but they have indirectly involved you with their decisions by placing their children with you. I think it may be best for you to ask the mom if she would like to hear your thoughts on it and then gently, oh so gently, share with her your own convictions on the importance of a mother in her children's early lives. Don't accuse her of anything negative or undercut her authority; just share your own beliefs and experiences with your own children. Maybe try giving her a pamphlet or article that deals with this issue objectively. Show her that you are on her side in wanting what is best for her family.

That is great that you like the old fashioned ways. I am that way too, as is my husband. I am the mother of 5, with the last one being born at home after the first 4 C-sections. We have homeschooled them all and appreciate all things natural.

God bless you in your love and concern for your nephews. Pray for discernment and the right opportunity to come along and for the right words and attitude. I will say a prayer for you.


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Holy Cow I don't either. I have run a daycare in my home for over 20 years and my kids were raised with a ton of kids. I never aspired to be a daycare provider but like you fell into it as the stay at home mom. My kids who all have their own kids today try not to take advantage of my time and will offer to pay me if they are working and earning money. Other times I do it because I'm gramma and I want to. Luckily my 4 girls all talk with each other and share the idea not to burn me out and respect my need for self.

In your case obviously your inlaws don't respect your time over their own. As long as you say nothing things will stay as they are because they must feel you're fine with it. I would say if it's your husband's family the two of you should invite them to dinner at a restaurant (very important) not at your houses where the kids can hear the discussion; and talk about your love of their boys, BUT the need for your own special family time. That the days are long for you with kids (even tho you love them) and you are feeling you need more adult time. Perhaps your sister in law will identify that she has long work hours and not enough family time with her boys and husband.

Optional: Also tell her your grocery bill has increased somewhat and that you and your husband do not have the same financial resources they do and if things are to continue the way they have been it would be nice if they could chip in on some of the food bill. This may bring up the subject of money (which you may not want to address). No one ever feels like they have or make enough money no matter what an outsider may say or believe. However after running a daycare for years, the food bill really stacks up.

Being honest is always the best bet. If this continues much longer your relationship is going to continue to deteriorate anyway and you will become resentful toward them. Addressing this before it reaches that point is always a risk. They may get mad and refuse to bring the boys over for awhile, BUT it may force them to spend time with their own kids as well as realize how much you are needed and appreciate you even more. I know this is a risk to take and only you can decide what to do. Kids are resilent and the reason the boys act up is for attention. They want to know their parents want and love them. If nothing else print this out and show it to them. Then you can blame it on me. Most concerned, C. S.

1 mom found this helpful

It is always difficult when it is family. Perhaps the situation wouldn't get as heated if it was handled through the men. Your husband could say that you two need to cut down the number of days that you have the boys. This situation needs to be their responsibility, not yours, regardless of how much you love the boys. Good luck

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